Ladies and gents, welcome to 50 Bands in 50 Days, our annual spotlight of the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, one day at a time, to usher in a new year of great local music. This year’s incredible showcase is brought to you by GigTown. Today we’re putting the spotlight on the latest project from a Seattle veteran, Danny Newcomb and his band, the Sugarmakers.
The latest incarnation of classic Seattle bands Shadow, Goodness and The Rockfords, Danny Newcomb and the Sugarmakers are a group of seasoned Seattle rock musicians, brandishing an accessible rock sound devoid of any nostalgia or surface-level copycatting. Rather, the band adopts a sound unlike many others around these parts, sounding way more alike rock music you might hear coming out of the UK in the 1990s.
Danny Newcomb and the Sugarmakers’ debut record, Masterwish, is a record that’s bold in its willingness to try out a bunch of different rock and pop styles to see which ones sound the best. Its biggest track “One Wish” feels like it’s totally out of the Tom Petty playbook, while other songs like “Nightmare” and the title track feel like total Britpop worship. Deeper album cuts take on sounds very unique to the Pacific Northwest region, like “Sundays”, which totally has the air of a 90s piece of slacker indie rock, and “Better When You Fail”, which sounds like a Souvlaki-era Slowdive song if they could pass a drug test.
This would be all for naught if it wasn’t for the fantastic musicianship that’s laced into each track these guys put out. The bass lines from Rick Friel are warm and resonant, and Newcomb’s guitar playing from track to track has a great tone to it and really showcases his talents. Pearl Jam guitarist and Seattle legend Mike McCready is brought on to do guest guitar work on the track “Sundays”, one of the best guest features you’ll hear on a Seattle record this year.
Danny Newcomb and the Sugarmakers are a great group with a style that stands out from other rock bands in their area. If you want to be on the cutting edge of great local talent, Newcomb and the Sugarmakers are a must-listen.
For Fans of: Blur, Radiohead (pre-OK Computer), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers